Here at Albright IP, we are always striving to find ways to help our clients be in control of valuable and effective intellectual property rights. In doing this we offer more than services relating to the drafting, filing, and prosecuting of patent, design and trademark applications around the world. Once of our most important ancillary roles is to advise in relation to the strategic management of intellectual property portfolios, because we want our clients to develop and grow their businesses.
We are often asked if we can assist with challenging the registration of conflicting company names at Companies House. The answer to this question is yes, we can invoke the procedures available at the Company Names Tribunal.
If you are concerned that a company name is the same as, or very similar to, that of your own company, a “too like” objection by virtue of Section 67 of the Companies Act 2006 should be brought to the Secretary of State at Companies House. The objection must be brought within 12 months of the date of registration of the name, and it should be kept in mind that this objection relates solely to the company names themselves, and does not directly address the issue of trademark infringement.
It is also possible, under Section 69 of the Companies Act 2006, to make an objection the Company Names Tribunal which works in tandem with the Intellectual Property Office in the United Kingdom. The tribunal allows for a company name to be challenged, as according to Section 69 (1):
(1)A person (“the applicant”) may object to a company’s registered name on the ground—
(a)that it is the same as a name associated with the applicant in which he has goodwill, or
(b)that it is sufficiently similar to such a name that its use in the United Kingdom would be likely to mislead by suggesting a connection between the company and the applicant.
Although, company names and trademarks are two distinct proprietary rights, they are increasingly becoming intertwined. Since, a company name is used to uniquely identify your enterprise with your consumers, it is of paramount importance to protect and safeguard your company name, and remain vigilant of company names coming into existence, which are identical or similar to your trademarks. This is an integral part of a successful intellectual property strategy.
At Albright IP, we offer a range of services which can support and enhance your intellectual property strategy, and in turn support your business growth and profitability, these include:
- The operation of a ‘watching service’, monitoring names which are similar to your trademarks or Company name, being registered on the Trade Marks or Companies House registers.
- We can offer advice on whether your issue is best addressed by making use of trademark remedies, or with a letter to the Secretary of State at Companies House, or via a complaint to the Company Names Tribunal; we can also advise on your chances of success with each of these routes.
- We can assist in the preparation and filing of complaints to the Companies Names Tribunal, as a standalone action.
If you have any queries regarding registering, protecting or challenging company names, at Albright IP, we are well-positioned to guide you through the appropriate process.